By: Mariel Carbone | WCTV Eyewitness News
May 16, 2018
Photo: ABC 33/40 / YouTube
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) — Ten additional Florida cities have officially signed on to a complaint that sues the state over its firearm regulations.
The original lawsuit, which included 10 cities and 34 elected officials, was filed in April. However, an amended lawsuit was filed on Tuesday adding an additional ten cities and 27 elected officials. Tallahassee, along with Mayor Andrew Gillum, Commissioner Nancy Miller and Commission Gil Ziffer are now named on the suit.
The lawsuit argues the penalties that elected officials face if they try and enact any type of law relating to firearms are unconstitutional. Under the current state law, which was enacted in 2011, elected officials can be personally fined, sued and removed from office.
Jamie Cole, who is the lead attorney representing the cities, said he believes the added support sends a clear message.
"This is not just a Broward issue, this is not just a south Florida issue. This is now very clearly a statewide issue. We have support throughout the state. And that support is growing. And hopefully we’ll be able to get this resolved quickly through the legal system,” said Cole.
Cole also noted the diverse participation, including rural and urban cities, shows the importance of the lawsuit.
Florida is not the only state that has strict penalties for violating state preemption on gun laws. According to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, states like Kentucky, Mississippi and Arizona have similar penalties. However, the Center has called Florida’s among the most punitive.
"When you look at all these punitive provisions together, what they do is, they frighten. They scare any local officials from trying to do anything, no matter how bad the gun violence problem is in their city or their community. And I think that's what sets Florida's law apart,” said Adam Skaggs, General Counsel for the Giffords Law Center.
Cole said there is no saying how long the court process could take on this case. However, he hopes to have a solution by the end of the year.